Saint Bartholomew Facts
Facts of Apostle Bartholomew
St Bartholomew Facts show us that although the Bible didn’t brief us much on St Bartholomew, it was believed that Apostle Bartholomew was also known as Nathanael and came from Cana in Galilee. (John 21:2)
He expressed some local prejudice about Nazareth. (John 1:46) Jesus recognized how sincerely his love for God was from the beginning when He said,
“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47)
Nathanael may have preached in India and translated the book of Matthew into their language.
He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded. It is one of St Bartholomew facts that he died as a martyr while serving the people of Albinopolis, Armenia.
Most Bible scholars believe Nathanael and Bartholomew were one and the same.
The name Bartholomew is a family designation, meaning “son of Tolmai,” which implies that he had another name. Nathanael means “gift of God” or “giver of God.”
St Bartholomew Facts and Symbols
One of the St Bartholomew Facts is that Bartholomew is also known as Nathaniel. He is most famous for the dramatic conversation he had with Philip in the Gospel of John.
Philip, having seen Jesus, rushes to Nathaniel to tell him about the messiah.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
“Come and see.”
When Nathaniel approaches Jesus, the saviour miraculously describes Nathaniel, and the apostle cries out,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Tradition suggests that Bartholomew travelled widely to preach the gospel. He is said to have gone as far east as India, but most sources centre him around Armenia and Africa. He was martyred after converting the king, Polymius, to Christianity. The king’s brother ordered Bartholomew to be tortured and executed. Bartholomew’s symbol is a knife to show that he was killed by being skinned alive.
One of the other St Bartholomew facts is that in the synoptic Gospels, the name Bartholomew always follows Saint Philip in lists of the Twelve. In the Gospel of John, Bartholomew is not mentioned at all; Nathanael is listed instead, after Philip. Likewise, Nathanael’s presence with other disciples at the Sea of Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection suggests that he was one of the original Twelve (John 21:2) and a witness to the resurrection.
Bartholomew is one of the most obscure apostles. His name only appears in the four lists of Jesus’ 12 main disciples, and he’s never listed with any titles or descriptions. All we really know is his name, and that he’s closely associated with Philip (aside from the list in Acts 1:13, Bartholomew is always listed alongside Philip, which perhaps indicates some sort of relationship).
Bartholomew the Apostle Miracles
There are many St Bartholomew Facts and one of the many miracles performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, are the two very popular ones, known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.
The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town.
On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly became very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength, they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier.
They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the townspeople would have been killed.
During World War II, the Fascist regime looked for ways to finance its activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of St Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams.
It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down. St Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.
Is Bartholomew the Same Person as Nathanael?
Bartholomew’s name most likely comes from the Aramaic name, Bar-Talmai, meaning “son of Talmai.” If that’s the case and this is a patronymic name (meaning a name that derives from a person’s father), it stands to reason that Bartholomew would’ve been known by another name.
In this case, most would argue that this other name is Nathanael since Nathanael appears to be an apostle in the Gospel of John, is closely associated with Philip (Philip calls him to meet Jesus, after all), and Bartholomew doesn’t appear in John.
But others argue that Bartholomew is a standalone name and that the Greek text normally represents patronymic names differently:
“The name ‘Bartholomew’ may stand by itself in the apostolic lists as a proper name. It is not necessarily a patronymic. The patronymic is normally expressed in the lists by the Greek genitive, not by the Aramaic bar.” —Professor Michael Wilkins, Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
That’s not to say Bartholomew was not also known as Nathanael, just that this isn’t necessarily why he would’ve been known by two names. Many modern scholars prefer to take a neutral stance on Nathanael and Bartholomew, suggesting that it’s possible, but not verifiable.
If Bartholomew is Nathanael though, John gives us two additional passages to learn about this disciple. When Philip first tells Nathanael about Jesus, he’s sceptical:
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46)
But after seeing Jesus demonstrate his divinity, he says:
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:49)
Toward the end of John’s gospel, Nathanael comes up again. This time, he’s merely listed among seven disciples who went fishing (John 21:1-3).
We know several of these disciples are fishermen—Peter, James, and John, plus Andrew if he’s one of the unnamed disciples in the passage—so either Nathanael was a fisherman, too or he’s just taking the opportunity to learn a new trade since at this point it seemed like the whole disciple thing didn’t work out.
Was Nathanael the Apostle Bartholomew?
Most Bible scholars believe Nathanael and Bartholomew were one and the same. The name Bartholomew is a family designation, meaning “son of Tolmai,” which as part of the St Bartholomew Facts implies that he had another name. Nathanael means “gift of God” or “giver of God.”
In the synoptic Gospels, the name Bartholomew always follows Philip in lists of the Twelve. In the Gospel of John, Bartholomew is not mentioned at all; Nathanael is listed instead, after Philip. Likewise, Nathanael’s presence with other disciples at the Sea of Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection suggests that he was one of the original Twelve (John 21:2) and a witness to the resurrection.
Prayer to Saint Bartholomew The Apostle
Conclusion St Bartholomew Facts
St Bartholomew Facts writes Bartholomew (Nathanael Bartholomew): Bartholomew (also referred to as Saint Bartholomew by the Catholic church) was a friend of Phillip and brought to see the greatness of Christ by Phillip. It is part of the St Bartholomew Facts that both Bartholomew and Phillip are often seen together and as a result, they are generally lumped together when spoken of in any detail.
Much as with Phillip, Bartholomew is not referred to in detail in The Bible and so not too much is known about him. While his death is not talked of in The Bible it is believed that Bartholomew too received the death of a martyr as a result of his firm belief in Christianity and his intent on spreading the word of Christ.
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